Tuesday, 9 August 2011
Review: Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
Released: August 11th, 2011
Grade rating: A-
Eleven-year-old Elise feels stuck. Her school locker-buddy squashes her lunch and laughs at her, every day. She doesn't want to go to school - and her best friend Franklin just makes things worse.One day Elise discovers an incredible secret. A secret that might just help her unlock her past, and take a chance on the future.
Like with Suzanne's debut novel, Love, Aubrey, I instantly fell in love with Eight Keys. Her writing draws me in so quickly and easily, and within mere minutes I'm hooked. I don't know what it is - whether it's her seemingly effortless prose or realistic characters - but something makes her books stand out to me. I get lost in the story on the page and I never want it to end. Simply put, Suzanne LaFleur is a brilliant and, in my opinion, understated writer who deserves so much more recognition.
Eight Keys is a coming-of-age novel with a sweet mystery and enough emotion to ensure there isn't a dry eye in sight. Eleven-year-old Elise is starting middle school, re-evaluating her friendship with lovely boy Franklin and experiencing bullying firsthand. She's also discovering that her now deceased parents loved her more than she ever knew, and that somebody dying doesn't necessarily mean the end. Her story is one of hope and learning, and what it means to be a good person.
Eight Keys deals with a variety of different themes and issues, including death, grief and bullying. LaFleur approaches each topic with a sense of respect, to both her characters and readers. She tugs at heartstrings and creates hope in a single sentence, making even me - someone scared of death and everything it brings with it - realise that it's an inevitable part of life but that it doesn't have to mean the end for a family or a relationship. Just because people aren't with us anymore doesn't mean they haven't left an indelible mark on our lives.
I've taken a lot away from Eight Keys, and I wish I'd been able to read it when I was younger. It's a must-read for any girl starting or getting through high school, and every theme is beautifully written and sensitively handled. Suzanne LaFleur is absolutely brilliant; she's one of my favourite writers for younger readers. I'd recommend her to everyone - her books are a real treat!